What do you want?

What do you want?

2Chron 1, 1Kings 3-4, Ps 72 There is a saying these days: what is on your bucket list or what is on your wish list.

Did you ever think God would want to know what is on yours?

After a very long day of celebration fitting for a new king, Solomon retired for the night and as he slept, had a dream. In the dream, he and God conversed about his wish list and what God should do for him. It is interesting that of all that Solomon could have asked for, he did not ask for riches or to conquer his enemies. Instead, Solomon’s mind was on how to govern wisely. Solomon asked God to give him wisdom and discernment to rule these people, for they were many.   God was pleased with his request and told Solomon that He would honor his bucket list and also give him what he had not asked for: riches untold and honor surpassing any king before him.

When Jesus walked this earth, he often stopped to engage people in a dialog. He wanted to know what was on their hearts. Jesus didn’t ask them what they thought or how they felt. Instead, he asked them to tell him what was on their hearts, what was on their wish list. God used that same strategy in the dream he gave to Solomon.

If God would come to you and ask the same question, what would be on your wish list?

The A, B, C’s

The Psalms

Psalm 119: Many of us have scores of Bibles at our fingertips, bookstores galore, and many different websites that offering different versions of the Bible. But, the early Israelites learned through oral recitation using the memory aid tool: “abecedaries,” just like children today learn their A-B-C’s in a sing-song fashion. All 176 verses of this psalm remind us of the steadfast love of God and His Word and mention the Word of God in nearly each stanza. 

Martin Luther memorized this entire psalm, and as a monk, he followed the pattern to recite long passages of scripture. He found Psalm 119 was easy to memorize because of its sing-song pattern. What a great challenge for us! Just as the psalmist said, those who are blessed are blameless and obedient to the law of the Lord. They choose to observe God’s rules and seek Him with their whole heart.

The psalmist knew the principle of 2Tim 3:16 “All scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, reproof correction, and training in righteousness.” Take time to walk through each stanza for your edification so that you might know who God is and what He does through the hearts and minds of those who taste and see that the Lord is good.

The Game of Chess & the New King

Who is the rightful king?

1Kings 1-2, Ps 37, 71, 94 “Usurpers Beware”

The game of chess is like the story before us today. In chess, the first player with a white piece starts, alternating between white and black, and continues until only one piece is the winner.  Adonijah, thinking of himself as heir apparent, saw his opportunity to declare himself king as David lay on his deathbed. Nathan, the prophet, knew of God’s plan for Solomon. He instructed Bathsheba to remind David and anoint Solomon as king.

Life Lesson: Sometimes we need a person of reason to guide us in our decisions; Nathan was that man.

Upon hearing the news of Solomon’s new title, Adonijah now became fearful, knowing the pattern of new kings to eliminate others who might take claim.  Instead, Solomon said he would spare his life if he remained loyal. However, through trickery, Adonijah sought to usurp Solomon by requesting he be given David’s nurse, implying that David’s harem would be his. Adonijah then would be co-heirs with Solomon. At that, Solomon withdrew his pledge and sent Benaiah to kill Adonijah.

The first two chapters of 1Kings are filled with intrigue and powerful lessons for us. We need to take lessons from David about transitioning to the person who will take the reins of our families.

Life Lesson: Do not delay in fulfilling what God has clearly said to do.

“Eight Ways to Praise the Lord”

God is love

Psalm 111 to 118:

Ps 111 Praising God with our whole heart!

Ps 112 Praising God who blesses those who obey Him and take great delight in keeping His commands

Ps 113 Praising God you servants, praise His name both now and forevermore

Ps 114 Praising God for His care over Israel

Ps 115 Praising God for His holy name

Ps 116 Praising God who hears our pleas for mercy and listens

Ps 117 Praising God every nation for his lovingkindness towers over us

Ps 118 Praising God for his lovingkindness endures forever!

Blessed are His people who seek His face and offer praises to Him who has “inscribed our name on the palm of his hand.” [Is 49:16]

Leaving a Legacy

leaving a legacy

1Chron 26-29; Ps 127 As David closed his reign and set Solomon to begin, he had one more thing to do: prepare the gifts out of “his” treasury to finance the building of the temple. David said: “Now, to show my commitment to the temple of my God, I donate my personal treasure of gold and silver to the temple of my God, in addition to all that I have already supplied for this holy temple.” [1Chron 29:3] What a legacy and example to Solomon and the nation of Israel! The lesson is this; our passing should leave a lesson to those who will be the recipients of our earthly goods. Our example should follow this principle: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” [Mat 6:21]  Also, from 2Cor 9:6-8, “Each one of you should give just as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, because God loves a cheerful giver.”

Nowhere in scripture does God command what David chose to do; he chose to do this because he was a man after God’s own heart. David was passionate about God and his work. His heart was sold out to God. He willingly chose to donate all of his earthly holdings to the work of the Lord. The question is this:

What will leave as picture of our heart’s passion?

God knows you, Do you know Him?

God knows you

“The God of Psalm 139 knows you. Do you know Him?”

From sunrise to sunset or when time began and is evermore before us, the psalmist reminds us through visual imagery that we serve an omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient God! Throughout scripture, different authors portray God as an eternal being aware of our being.

Hagar knew God as El Roi, the God who sees and cares about me. The gospel writers tell us that He is the Bread of Life upon which we may feed and the Living Water from which we may quench our spiritual thirst. The Apostle John wrote that He is and was Immanuel [God with us]. He was manifested in human form that we might understand God is Light and God is Love. [1John 1] He was revealed that we might desire His presence in our lives. Again He is the Good Shepherd that knows and calls his sheep by name yet is intimately acquainted with each one and as the Shepherd sees into the womb where a child is being woven as His perfect tapestry. God knows our mindset, ways, and thoughts, yet we cannot even begin to fathom His thoughts. So the psalmist asks: what is man that He should take notice of them.

Each day spend time with Him in His Word so you know Him as He knows you. Then rejoice in His presence!  Seek Him to lead you step by step that you might honor Him.

Decency and Order

failure to plan leads to planning to fail

1Chron 23 to 25: David made sure that he organized the Temple duties so that the services would run smoothly. He wanted his son to understand how explicit God is about decency and order. Do we do the same for Christ’s church? Paul wrote: “And do everything in a decent and orderly manner.” [1Cor 14:40] There is an old adage that says we either fail to plan or plan to fail. There is an old nursery rhyme that shows us the lack of planning: 

Rub-a-dub, three men in a tub, the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker, etc. As we read this, we wonder who will be the leader of this band of merrymakers?

David left no stone unturned. He planned for the bakers of the shewbread, the organizers of the music ministry, and the organizers of the treasury. Do we do the same or do we fail to plan or plan to fail? David and Pail were organizers: Paul wrote: “Let the word of Christ dwell in our richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and spiritual songs with thankfulness to God.” [Col 3:16]

Meet With God

Ps 108 “Beginning and Ending with God!”

How do you begin your day, with or without a time alone with God? How do you end your day? King David was both a morning person and also a night owl. Although busy with kingdom issues, David found time alone with God in reading and prayer. God was his priority no matter the kingdom or family issues before him.

 David honored God by offering thanks to God before others.  When we begin our time alone with God, can we say we are ready to hear from him, or are our minds so saturated with the busyness before us that we find it hard to focus? Are we able to rejoice in this truth from the lips of those we meet: they will realize this is your work and that you, Lord, have accomplished it.

Here’s a suggestion from a longtime favorite hymn of old:

  • When morning gilds the skies my heart awakening cries;
  • May Jesus Christ be praised!
  • Alike at work and prayer; to Jesus, I repair
  • May Jesus Christ be praised.

Like David, do we “repair” or turn to God for His answer to our dilemmas? It is in the quiet we can hear God’s voice. As you ponder who God is and think ahead, why not make a date with God for your time alone with him in the wee hours of the morning or the late-night hours of day’s end?

Seeking God first…

Seek God first

1 Chronicles 21-22; 2 Samuel 24; Psalm 30

It is hard to understand these chapters without the Holy Spirit to intervene to enlighten us and sometimes He uses seasoned preachers/scholars to help us beyond that. Perhaps you are like this author. You too have a lot of trouble because we can’t see the forest for the trees. Why does David want to count the army forces?  Why does he ignore the words of Joab? Why, why, why?? Questions abound but we find it refreshing to read these words of David: David said to God, “I have sinned greatly by doing this! Now, please remove the guilt of your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.[1Chron 21:7]

Why does it take the death of many for David to realize his error? Why does it take the problems we face as a wake-up call for us to bow the knee to God and ask for His forgiveness? It is because we are stubborn people.

Yes, we act foolishly when we seek to do something that we want more than what God wants. God wants Israel to trust Him in all situations but David’s thoughts are for self not God and it is only after many die that he comes to his senses. Impulsivity is the bane of many of our sins. We act impulsively and we fail to ask God to enter into our decision-making. Bob Deffinbaugh, in his sermon on this chapter, helps us to see that we are not alone in trying to put the pieces together of this very hard set of chapters. He too struggled like you and me.

Corporate Worship

Worship God alone for He is Creator

Psalm 95: Every day we are to step aside from our work and spend time with God. On the first day of the week, we join others in worship in a place set aside just for that. The psalmist encourages that time by repeating “let us,” thus asking all of us to join together by singing, shouting out praises, entering his presence with thanksgiving. The world stops and asks why we do this. The psalmist replies that the Lord is a great God, a great king who is superior to all gods.

Romans 1:20 reminds us that we can see God’s invisible attributes in his creation. The psalmist notes that the depths of the earth are in his hand, the mountain peaks belong to him, the sea is his—for he has made it. It isn’t just the physical evidence of He being the Creator, but He reveals that He is deeper and higher than us. Each creation is a picture of who He is.  Therefore, come “let us” bow down and worship. “Let us” kneel before the Lord, our Creator.

The psalmist notes the warning if we fail to take the time to honor Him as the Israelites of old did. He made a vow in his anger that they will never enter the resting place I had set aside for them. May we heed that until heaven and earth are dissolved, this could happen to us.

May your day of worship be pleasing in His sight.